Sunday, December 10, 2017

Film Review - Dim The Fluorescents

Lilian (Naomi Skwarna) is an aspiring playwright working alongside her actor friend and roommate Audrey (Claire Armstrong) unfortunately in the corporate world instead of on stage or in a film.  The roommates have a company that puts on corporate demonstrations of training seminars on topics consisting of how to handle an angry customer, sexual harassment in the workplace or workplace safety. It's very dry but it pays and the friends attack the seminars with their creative passion building elaborate back-stories for their characters then delivering high-end emotion when presenting.

Writer-director Daniel Warth and co-writer Miles Barstead go behind the curtain to show the daily grind. Audrey calls her agent after auditions when she's feeling discouraged or to see where he's submitted her name to be greeted by an answering machine but leaves hopeful messages. Button down Lillian meets with her accountant dad to ensure him that she's O.K. and doesn't need any money. Warth & Barstead's writing is the key to the film. They manage to walk the balance between sarcastic comedy and a farce staying on the right side of the line. The production effectively uses hand shots to bring the viewer into the intimate space of the leads especially on emotional Audrey. The choice of a body camera works well for the final one take climatic scene.

The filmmakers use a unique device of the daily pillbox as an advent calendar type device to count down the days until their big corporate hotel ballroom event; a skit on leadership in times of crisis in the workplace in front of 300 people. The ladies clear their calendar for the month of December in the first of a series of brilliant scenes where we see their creative process. They brainstorm the script, determine VIP attendees, become saddled with their corporate contact's niece in exchange for badges leading up to an elaborate script and rehearsal time for a 7-minute performance on a leader helping a troubled co-worker.

Dim The Fluorescents is a study on being passionate for your art no matter the venue. The two lead actresses commit fully to the material dragging the audience along for the ride. Along the way Lillian and Audrey get to the point to recognize that they need each other. Although the overall story could have been delivered in a tighter package there is a lot of meat on the bone making it a film I can recommend.

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

Dim The Fluorescents | Daniel Warth | Canada | 2017 | 128 Minutes.

Tags: playwright, Actress, Auditions, Corporate Training Seminars, Role-playing, Depression, Smoking, Hotel Conference, Rescue cat.

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